School and SEVIS Record Transfer
When transferring from one school to another school within the United States, you must carefully follow certain procedures to maintain lawful F-1 or J-1 status. Please note that in this context the term "transfer" means changing schools, either in the middle of a degree program or between degrees, regardless of academic level. For high school, undergraduate, and graduate students alike, if you are currently attending school in the US and plan to attend a new school, you will likely need to request the transfer of your SEVIS record.
Eligibility for a SEVIS record transfer
- The start date at your new school must be within 5 months of your "transfer out" date in SEVIS or your program completion, whichever is earlier. For students authorized for post-completion OPT, the new program start date must be within 5 months of your SEVIS "transfer out" date or the end of the OPT authorization, whichever is earlier. If the period of time between programs is longer than 5 months, your SEVIS record does not need to be transferred. Your new school will issue a new initial I-20 and new SEVIS number.
- You must currently be maintaining F-1 status.
- If you have already graduated, you must be within your 60-day grace period.
Transfer procedures (to Western)
To transfer to Western Washington University, you must first apply for admission to the WWU Admissions office. Once admitted, notify the international student advisor at your current school of your intention to transfer. Your advisor will transfer your SEVIS record to Western. Only your current school has access to your SEVIS record; therefore, the WWU cannot issue your I-20 until your SEVIS record is transferred. In most cases, the "transfer out" date will be the last day of your final term at your current school.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I stay in the US between programs?
You may stay in the US if the SEVIS record transfer procedures are followed. If the period between programs is longer than 5 months, your new school must issue a new initial I-20 with a new SEVIS number. You will need to leave the US within your 60-day grace period and re-enter no earlier than 30 days before your new program start date.
How does my SEVIS transfer affect my travel plans?
Generally, if you will travel outside of the US between programs, you must use the I-20 from your new school when you re-enter. It is important to discuss your travel plans with your international student advisor at both your current and new school so that an appropriate "transfer out" date can be coordinated.
Can I use my current visa even though I am changing schools?
As long as you have followed the proper transfer procedures, you will be able to use your current, unexpired visa to re-enter the US even though it has your previous school name printed on it.
How does my SEVIS transfer affect my on-campus employment eligibility?
You may only work on campus at the school that has access to your SEVIS record. Check with the international student advisor at your new school to verify employment eligibility.
Can I request to transfer my SEVIS record after I have graduated?
You are eligible to request a SEVIS record transfer during the 60-day grace period following your program completion. If you are authorized for OPT you can request a SEVIS record transfer during your OPT period and within the 60-day grace period following your OPT expiration date.
How does my SEVIS transfer affect my OPT authorization?
If you are currently authorized for OPT, choose carefully when deciding what date you would like your SEVIS record transferred to your new school. OPT authorization ends on the "transfer out" date, even if the EAD card is not yet expired. If you plan to work between programs while on OPT coordinate with your international student advisor to determine an appropriate "transfer out" date.